Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Hilary Weston Prize for NonFiction Series: 7 Things You Need to Know About Paula Todd's Extreme Mean

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Hilary Weston Prize for NonFiction Series: 7 Things You Need to Know About Paula Todd's Extreme Mean

It's less than a week until the winner of Canada's top non-fiction award, the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, is announced! To celebrate the excellent shortlist, we're running a new series with the Writers' Trust: The Hilary Weston Prize Dinner-party Digestible: 7 Things You Need to Know, featuring seven fascinating facts about and related to each title nominated for this year's award. Consider this an appetizer to the book's full feast, whetting your appetite for great reading.

Today's list comes from Paula Todd's timely and fascinating Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies and Predators Online (McClelland & Stewart). If you've ever scrolled down to the comments section on a website and deeply regretted it, Extreme Mean will ring true for you.

Extreme Mean made quite an impression on the jury, who called the book: "Overwhelmingly persuasive. A book every parent — or anyone online — must read."

7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… Paula Todd’s Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies and Predators Online

  1. 1.5 billion people use the Internet every day.

  2. Between 2000 and 2012, growth in Internet use increased by roughly 3,600% in Africa, 2,640% in the Middle East, and more than 1,300% in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  3. And yet, the most sophisticated means of communication in the history of the human race has brought out our most primitive instincts and behaviour.

  4. Rebecca Black dropped out of her award-winning school for the arts due to cyberbullying after the release of her song, “Friday,” which drew 3 million “thumbs downs” on YouTube and earned Black the moniker of “most hated person on the internet.”

  5. Kids’ Internet expertise tends to surge ahead that of their parents. We are handing over to young minds powerful devices we do not fully understand.

  6. Dismissing the Internet as “not real life” is damaging to those who are hurt in the online arena.

  7. We have to take “digital damage” seriously. Teens with compulsive Internet habits may lack the capacity to be reflective or to empathize, and can feel physically unwell without constant stimulation.



The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction has rapidly become the preeminent Canadian non-fiction award, with shortlists featuring Canada's finest non-fiction writers, including authors such as Richard Gwyn, Thomas King, Graeme Smith and many more. The winner of the prize receives $60,000, while finalists receive $5,000. The 2014 winner will be announced at an event in Toronto next week on October 14.

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